What is Paint? What does paint mean? The purpose of paint is to coat something with as thin of an opaque substance as possible. You can get fancy, add in rust resistance, eggshell finish, satin, primer +.
So when did we start painting with bricks? When did we start painting with metal? What are we coating and why? What does the coating say about how we view ourselves?
What is the morality of architecture?
I’ll explain. There is a video on YouTube where a stone mason explains how to properly construct a brick wall. He then talks about most ‘brick’ walls that are being constructed now. Real brick walls are made of brick and mortar and their construction speaks to the conversation the mortar and brick have to have with each other and the ground and sky. The beauty of the wall is always derived from these existential concern. The ‘design’ is only rooted in doing things for the wall to survive; from a sloped or capped top, to the waterline on the bottom, to the brick pattern and how they tie in withe to withe.
In contrast, the modern ‘brick’ wall does back flips to pretend it has both problems and solutions. They are concrete footers with reinforcements sticking out. The concrete masonry unit, CMU stack on top, easy peasy. Then they add vapor paper and ties. The ties hold the paint: the brick. The brick can be the usual kind, or thin brick, or god forbid a vinyl copy cat or precast brick sheets. Then dress it up with cap stones and caulk.
Why doesn’t the CMU deserve the glory? It is a cool guy, I’m sure it wants some shine.
This taps back into what I’ve been saying in some of the past posts. I think we have largely moved past buildings as subjects. It’s all about look. If it looks like our cartoon version of what real life should look like, we are fine. We’ve seen enough and we are comfortable with copying the past.
We are not comfortable with copying the digital past yet. We hunger for more. We explore user experience, feedback, engagement, influence. In this new level digital play space, everyone has a say and a view.
And it is this very thing that has up moving past real things. Real things are tied to history, class, prejudice, climate, economy, etc. So the things we boost and discuss online are boiled down to body and mind.
Isn’t that the height of progress? To give a voice to everyone?
What is the cost? We don’t care about things past the paint. Under the pint there could be sweatshops, asbestos, pollution, corrruption, bad technique. Will our peak crumble without upkeep of things? Do we need curators of technique? skill? history? Or can we trust the computers to remember?
I don’t know